Happy New Year to ALL! We are proud to announce that our 2021 Women Composers’ Calendar is available for purchase, to help you celebrate the work of women in the coming year. Featuring the birthdays and achievements of a wide range of composers, it is available for purchase here, from Lulu.com. Lulu.com offers international print-on-demand services, and handles shipping (so that international orders are now more reasonably priced than in the past). Your purchase supports our work!
Much can be said about the past year as filled with tragedy – the horrors of the pandemic, the loss of Black lives to senseless violence, and the cruelly selfish behavior of the 45th U.S. President. These are all events that we can hope will not recur. But some positive moments did take place in 2020. For many it became a useful time for reflection, a chance to step back and look at the big picture (for example, conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya discusses some of the innovations she has set in motion during the pandemic). The focus on Black Lives Matter brought many orchestras and ensembles to “discover” the work of Black composers – we were delighted to see LA Opera’s exciting performance of Joseph’s Bologne’s 1780 “The Anonymous Lover (L’Amant Anonyme), and the Philadelphia Orchestra performed Florence Price’s Symphony no. 1. Living Black composers were programmed as well, but, as the NYTimes wondered, will this be a lasting change? We at WPA will continue to champion (as we have since our founding in 2008, and as The Women’s Philharmonic did with pioneering spirit) the performance of music by composers of color, and we will also work to make sure that this is not a “flash in the pan,” not a temporary or tokenistic nod to diversifying the canon, but rather enduring change that will engage with and value the creativity of previously neglected portions of humanity.
Celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Women winning the right to vote took place in many ways, and many remain available online for your continued enjoyment! We reported on a number of them here.
Also moved online was the First Annual International Florence Price Festival – its many events (including panels, presentation, concerts and lecture-recitals) are available here!
And speaking of Florence Price, the release of the biography Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price, by Dr. Rae Linda Brown, was real cause for celebration. (Our review is here.) University of Illinois Press, the publisher, deserves special commendation, as they are really “on a roll” – just last month saw the publication of Chen Yi (by Leta E Miller and J. Michele Edwards), and last year, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Composer and Critic, by Suzanne Robinson. Such important contributions to the available scholarship about these remarkable composers and their music!
As arts ensembles carefully begin returning to live performances, we hope that the new era will continue to address past injustices and inequities in classical music as in other areas.